Bangladeshi students want to give back to the Windsor community
The Bangladesh-Windsor Student Association is looking for volunteer opportunities throughout the city
Bangladeshi students in Windsor are looking to give back to the community through volunteer work.
The Bangladesh-Windsor Student Association (BWSA) first began as a way of providing assistance to students coming from Bangladesh to Windsor by helping them create a home away from home.
The BWSA launched in 2017 to connect current students with new ones making the move.
Members help new students by assisting them with their search for housing, jobs, as well as by alleviating some of their homesickness — all challenges members faced before.
"I think language barrier is an issue," said Tara Das, president of the BWSA. "If English is not your first language ... you won't feel comfortable.... It's a cultural shock, which we're trying to mediate."
Now, Das wants the group to expand and give back to the community by connecting the BWSA to volunteer opportunities on- and off-campus.
"Us, as international students, are getting so much from Canada and in Windsor," Das explained.
"So, if we don't go out there and help the community, I think we're not doing justice to the opportunity that we have been given."
He added that it's important for international students to get involved in the community because "it helps them learn the culture."
The group is looking into volunteering at different centres, including blood banks, homeless shelters and retirement homes.
Md Aashique Rahman, general secretary with the BWSA, says it's difficult for students moving to a new country.
"We don't know anything basically about the country — where to go when I'm sick, the gym, the malls, the grocery stores," he said.
"Students from my country don't know anything about it and they're very shy to express themselves."
Canada is the third country in which Rahman has studied outside of Bangladesh.
Shahin Rana Masud, the group's vice-president, and Md Nayem Hossain, the BWSA's external marketing director, describe Bangladesh as a "family-oriented" country.
They hope to provide that sense of family to their new members.
The group currently has 150 members, but they hope to attract even more this year.